PORSCHE 718 BOXSTER
Flat-four boxer strikes all the right notes
HITTING THE RIGHT NOTES IN this day and age is a major challenge. Even with your A-B-Cs in place, each approach, when delivered and offered, will be perceived differently and not always approached like the creator may have imagined. However, that’s where the factor of chance steps in. Is it good by chance? No, it’s good because it was made well. Is it received well by chance? Perhaps. And that’s where we come in. It’s been 40 years since Porsche last offered a flat-four engine, and with a 2.0-litre displacement, no less. However, the ‘718’ name, also new, marks the resurrection of the nomenclature first seen about 60 years ago on a hardcore development of the 550A. It was a mid-engined racer with a 1.5-litre flat-four making 142 PS. The car made its début in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1957, but didn’t finish as it was involved in an incident. The following year, though, it finished first in its class and third overall. In the early 1960s, the 718 name was even in Formula 1! Turn the clock back to the present and we find the motor in the new Boxster is a spiritual successor with a more modern construction. And it’s turbo’d.
Look at the new Boxster, though, and it’s vastly similar to the 981. Porsche say it’s the 982 and we believe them, especially from the rear, where the new black stripe arrives between boot-lid and bumper. The tail-lamp cluster pair is also all-new and rather striking. The shape, overall, with the tight lines and curvy wheel-arches that hug those precision-cut 19-inch wheels with low 40-profile rubber all evoke a sensation of speed, not to mention natural beauty. Especially when in a racy shade of red!
The cabin has enough space for two, and only two. There are door-pockets, a glove-box, and some storage under the centre arm-rest, but that’s about it. If you want to stash anything, it has to go in one of the two boots — you have 150 litres in the front, with 125 litres at the rear. Being a soft-top and being a Porsche, the roof folds and stays over the engine in the middle, behind the seats. So it doesn’t really eat into boot volume.
Doling out the information is a typically Porsche layout — large rev-counter in the middle, flanked by the speedo and tell-tale lights. Even being a turbocharged motor, this one revs to 7,500 rpm. It’s quite a piece of work, actually. Putting aside the purist line of thought and getting to grips with the fact that the 718 does embrace history and goes back to four cylinders — creating a seemingly needed space between itself and the 911 — and present-day technology trends to clean up its act, providing high power with lower fuel consumption.
The all-new 2.0-litre flat-four boxer engine uses a 91-mm bore in conjunction with a 7 6.4-mm stroke length for a displacement of 1,988 cc. The firing order,
1-3-2-4, is different owing to the adoption of a single turbocharger, located where two more cylinders would have been, to keep several factors in check: from plumbing for the compressor and intake to cost. Turn the key and the boxer growls to life before, dare I say, settling into a properly grumpy, lazy idle. That’s akin to something from the other end of Stuttgart with twice the number of cylinders, actually.
Push the right pedal and get a move on and there’s an angry, angry sound. With the single turbo delivering 20 psi of boost, it allows for a much higher specific output than even the old Boxster GTS! The numbers, 300 PS and 380 Nm, are similar to what its Bavarian cousin delivers from an in-line four, but here it’s different. It’s wilder. These 300 horses haven’t been to grooming school and seem more untamed leading to quite the tail-happy nature for this new 718 soft-top.
Need numbers? With two on board, the Boxster shattered 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds and smashed the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds at a shade over 173 km/h. The claimed top speed is 275, but, being where we were, we soon ran out of room. The braking was quite good for a car for its size and weight of just under 1.4 tonnes, even without the ceramic brakes, with a 2.3-second period between 80 km/h and naught, spanning less than 25 metres, too. Speaking of which, the PCCB (Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes) Rs-12-lakh option delivers
There’s an aura of performance, of quality, and, most importantly, of commitment
far quicker and more effortless stopping power with no fade whatsoever. Speaking of which, the base price is Rs 87.33 lakh, exshowroom and without options in Mumbai. There are a slew of choices too. Play around long enough on the car configurator and you can easily double up the cost!
On the efficiency front, too, the 718 Boxster pleasantly surprised with its frugality, hardly wolfing down a litre every 7.5 kilometres in the city, while casually sipping one every 12.5 km on the highway. The standard tank is 54 litres, yielding a range of 475 kilometres considering an overall 8.75 km/l. Put in another 20 grand and you can have the 64-litre tank that increases said range to 560.
What that feels like on the road is a different story. Like the 911, the 718 allows many a moment of that on-the-edge feeling with the way it accelerates with a hint of wiggle. It makes you do a little work to get the goods and, when it delivers, it feels infinitely rewarding and widens the smile you’ve had all the while, taking it in, then getting in, and hearing that boxer fire up for the first time. The way it builds your experience is the key. The fluid feel of the touchscreen on the centre console as you pore through settings. The weight of the steering as you turn in, slow and fast, with its underlying pulse algorithms working hard. The way the suspension feels firmly sprung and agile beyond belief, yet soft enough not to be a bother even on the worst of road surfaces. It all adds up.
As with the 911, there’s an aura of performance, of quality, and, most importantly, of commitment. Every detail and appointment of choice reflects the enthusiast and inner child not just in the driver, but also the makers. You just know that whoever made those parts, sewed the material on those sport seats, and crafted all those aluminium bits of paddle, shifter and trim, knew exactly what feeling they desired from whoever first laid their hands on them and then ran their fingers slowly across. And, that, ladies and gentlemen, doesn’t come by very often. Any way you look at it, Porsche sports cars are exclusive. You don’t see one very often. And if it’s out-of-the-box quick-mix instant fun that you crave, this Boxster and its flat-four motor strike all the right notes.
Quality interior and sporty elements further massage the need for speed Radiator at the other end is the closest you get to the engine without taking apart the car
Singular exhaust pipe aptly amplifies the flat-four motor’s gloriously aggressive soundtrack Ample 150-litre boot in the front enough for a few bags; 125 more litres in the rear, too